From repealing the weapons ban to no smoking here are five new bills lawmakers introduced

The sun rises over the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday, October 20, 2021. The state is the top employer in Sangamon County. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly have had one week in session where the primary business has been introducing new bills.

In total, that includes 2,104 bills in the Illinois House of Representatives and 1,247 in the state Senate as of Friday. Springfield and Sangamon County-area lawmakers are among the primary sponsors of bills that span a range of topics.

Recent:Income tax credits abound in early bills introduced to Illinois General Assembly

The first full week of House sessions concluded on Wednesday with a Thursday session canceled. The Senate and the House are scheduled to return on Tuesday.

Weapons ban: House Bill 1564

Legal challenges to Illinois’ ban on the sale and purchase of assault-style weapons have mounted in recent weeks at the state and federal levels.

The efforts have been led by Republicans, including three lawsuits from failed Attorney General candidate Thomas DeVore. Earlier this week, a split appellate court upheld a decision by an Effingham County judge to issue a temporary restraining order in favor of DeVore and the 886 plaintiffs he was representing.

Related:Effingham County judge temporarily blocks assault-style weapons ban

Through House Bill 1564, Republicans seek to repeal several provisions of the Protect Illinois Communities Act — signed into law as Public Act 102-1116 by Pritzker during the lame-duck session.

Specifically, the bill from state Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton, would remove the act’s language that prevents an individual’s ability to “knowingly possess an assault weapon, assault weapon attachment, .50 caliber rifle, or .50 caliber cartridge,” as of Jan. 1, 2024.

It would also return the firearm restraining order to six months instead of the current one-year order created by PICA. Severin is joined by nine other GOP co-sponsors in opposition to the ban passed under House Bill 5471.

“The people that I represent, and indeed the people of our entire region believe the firearms ban that Governor Pritzker signed is a direct attack on Second Amendment rights, and I agree,” Severin said in a statement. “I am a pro-2nd Amendment legislator and always have been. I filed this bill because I believe firmly that the firearms ban is unconstitutional and it should be repealed immediately.”

School zone speeding: Senate Bill 279

State Sen. Sally Turner, R-Beason, introduced Senate Bill 279 earlier this week which would apply to speeding in school zones.

As state law currently stands, a driver exceeding 20 miles per hour on a school day in the zones could be found guilty of a petty offense when “school children are present and so close thereto that a potential hazard exists because of the close proximity of the motorized traffic.”

Illinois State Sen. Sally Turner, R-Beason, joins U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Illinois, and Illinois House and Senate Republicans to call on Gov. JB Pritzker to veto the redrawn legislative maps during a press conference at the intersection of South Lincoln Avenue and West Washington Street in Springfield, Ill., Thursday, June 3, 2021. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

Turner’s bill would remove that provision and instead make it illegal to speed in school zones regardless of the presence of children. It also changes the period of a school day from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Anyone found guilty of speeding in a school zone would face at least a $150 fee for their first offense and a minimum of $300 plus community service for a subsequent charge.

Motor fuel tax: House Bill 1575, Senate Bill 271

Two Republican lawmakers will be taking up legislative action again that would decrease the state’s motor fuel tax.

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, the tax for gasoline is 42.3 cents per gallon and 49.8 cents per gallon for diesel through June 30. The increase — 3.1 cents more for gasoline and diesel each at the beginning of the year— comes following the end of a six-month stall of a scheduled increase.

Past:The state’s suspended gas tax increase ended Sunday: What you need to know

State Rep. Adam Niemerg, R-Dietrich, filed House Bill 1575, to set those taxes for gasoline at 19 cents per gallon and 21.5 cents for diesel effective the beginning of July. This was the prior gas tax prior to 2019 to cover expenses associated with the Rebuild Illinois infrastructure project.

Senate Bill 271 comes from state Sen. Craig Wilcox, R-McHenry, and would also reduce the tax but at slightly different rates. The tax would not exceed 18 cents for gasoline or 80% of that sum for diesel.

Wilcox and Niemerg introduced bills with the same language in the prior assembly. Neither bill made it out of committee before the 102nd General Assembly concluded.

No smoking expanded: House Bill 1540

Legislation from state Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Chicago, would amend the Smoke-Free Illinois Act — legislation that went into effect in 2008 that banned smoking in most public places in the state.

Electronic cigarettes and pods by Juul, the nation’s largest maker of vaping products, are offered for sale at the Smoke Depot on Sept. 13, 2018 in Chicago. Five teens from Illinois are suing the company. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

House Bill 1540 would add electronic smoking devices to the act’s definition of smoking, which means the use of e-cigarettes or vape pens would not be permitted inside public spaces like a bar, places of employment or enclosed sports arena. It also would not be allowed in student dormitories.

The bills come after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration denied the authorization for JUUL products to be sold or distributed anywhere in the country last June.

Senate Bill 348: New statues at the Capitol

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama approaches the podium with his daughter, Malia, while his wife Michelle and daughter Sasha follow during Obama’s speech announcing his candidacy for president at the Old State Capitol in Springfield on Feb. 10, 2007.

Pritzker recently signed appropriation legislation — House Bill 969 — which included $500,000 for a new Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. statue to be built by the Office of the Architect of the Capitol.

Legislation from state Sen. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, would add other statutes to the building. Under Senate Bill 348, OAC would “provide for the acquisition and placement” of statues depicting former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.

Obama served as a state senator from 1997 to 2004 before joining the U.S. Senate and later being elected president. Reagan, while never serving as a legislator in Illinois, was born in Tampico and grew up in Dixon.

Contact Patrick Keck: 312-549-9340,,

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Here are five new bills proposed in the Illinois General Assembly

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February 5, 2023 at 08:54AM

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